No one could have prepared me for the day my mother became my child. The very day my stepfather, Roy, passed away was the day our worlds collided. It was a warm, sunny July day when Roy breathed his last breath. Mom, I and his 3 daughters were in the Surrey Memorial Hospital at his bedside. After his passing we stayed for about a half hour, all of us weeping, trying to comprehend what the future held. All of us with different thoughts and feelings.

As I led Mom away from his room and we made our way to the car she said “Have we had the funeral yet?” This was the beginning of a 6 month journey into hell with me as the caregiver of a woman I no longer knew.

Both Roy and I knew that Mom was suffering from dementia. She had been diagnosed while he was alive. She was in denial and it was not something we spoke to her about. I don’t know if Roy was covering for her while he was alive or if she was sent further into the depths of dementia with the shock of his passing.

I stayed with Mom for several days. She was incapable of thinking or acting rationally so I was forced to become “the boss”.  I found myself constantly telling her what to do and how to do it and correcting her at every turn. She rebelled like a teenager and there was simply no way to talk logic with her.

While Roy was in the hospital I had been driving us to and from the hospital. She drove us one day and I realized her license needed to be taken away and that she needed to be forced off the road. It was heart wrenching. You cannot tell a person who is in denial that they cannot drive anymore. I had to tell her that she couldn’t afford to keep her car and I had to take the car away. This left her with no vehicle to get around. She lost her husband and her freedom and the life she knew all in a day. It also became the beginning of telling her many lies, regarding her car and license. I later came to understand this is called “therapeutic lying” or “emotional truths”.

It was 6 months of the worst kind of role reversal imaginable. Mom was helplessly lost and I was hopelessly lost trying to run her life and mine. She was becoming a danger to herself. One of her new found activities was wandering the streets of Whalley looking for a boyfriend. Whalley is the heart of downtown Surrey, BC. I was constantly afraid for her well-being and her safety.

Finally, I came across the Alzheimer’s organization online. I participated in a family care-giving session that surely saved me. I learned a new language. A care-giver’s language:

I stopped arguing with Mom
I stopped trying to correct her
I stopped trying to make her be the Mom that I knew and that she no longer was
I thankfully learned how to communicate with her

I’m happy to report that, after 6 months, I got her moved to an assisted living facility near my home. She was very angry with me and very unhappy for several weeks until she met “the boyfriend” she had been wandering the streets looking for. He too suffers from dementia but neither of them know it. She is no longer lonely. She’s eating 3 meals a day in the dining room with her new beau. She’s put some much needed weight back on. They go out and walk his dog several times a day and they spend most of their time laughing about the same things over and over. They now live together and are both very happy.

Me, I’ve got my life back. For now. Dementia is an ugly demon and I don’t know how long the current situation will last. In the meantime, I regularly attend Alzheimer caregiving sessions for adult kids of parents with alzheimers. I gain valuable insight into handling situations and it’s great to share with people who understand.

Please share your Alzheimer stories with me.

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If you are like Gale, and thousands of other women, you may suffer daily and needlessly from stress incontinence. Stress incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine during exercise.  The loss of urine can also happen during simple, but important, routine acts such as laughing, coughing, sneezing or lifting. The reasons are varied and can include aging, menopause, multiple pregnancies, large babies or vaginal childbirth.  Regardless of why you are afflicted with this embarrassing condition, with the accompanying discomfort, Stress incontinence becomes a problem when there is damage to the muscles and nerves of the pelvic floor. The muscles that support the urethra are weakened and are no longer able to effectively support the area, leading to involuntary urine leakage. This is not to be confused with urge incontinence which is the feeling of not being able to get to the bathroom, in time, when you need to void. That is a separate condition and will not be fixed by TVT surgery.

TVT surgery is a simple surgical procedure that can make a surprising change for the better to your life.  TVT stands for Tension Free Vaginal Tape (TVT). It can bring “dryness” back to your life and restore your feelings of well being, dignity and self esteem while allowing you to resume activities that were lost due to incontinence.

Your family physician can discuss this option with you. He /she will refer you to a gynecologist who specializes in performing TVT surgery. From there, it becomes a matter of deeming that you are a suitable candidate. You may be asked to record a 24 hour “voiding diary” prior to your appointment as well as recording the amount and time of voiding in a 24 hour period. You will undergo urodynamic testing in the specialist’s office which involves placing a catheter into your bladder and then filling it with fluid, under pressure, to again determine if you are a suitable candidate for a successful surgical intervention.

If you are deemed suitable your OR date will be set. You will receive pre-op instructions and may require some blood work and an ECG test prior to your surgery date. A word of caution to those that like to research; Gale watched a detailed internet video on TVT surgery prior to her operation and after watching she considered cancelling her OR date and walking away from the procedure. Please remember that all surgeries do not look nice on video, especially when you think in terms of your own body undergoing the operation.  Your surgeon, anaesthetist and OR nurses will ensure your comfort prior, during and after your operation.

The day of the surgery you will receive an I.V for fluid and drug administration. You will meet your anaesthetist who will outline the kinds of anaesthetic you can receive during your surgery. Gale chose a general anaesthetic. Once she was placed in the operating room she was covered in a warm blanket and awoke approximately 45 minutes later in the recovery room with a catheter in place.

During the TVT surgery, which takes approximately half an hour, your surgeon will make a small incision in your vagina.  A mesh like hammock is inserted through the incision and pulled through the outside of your body in the bottom area of the pubic hair. It is then clipped off at the surface, thus suspending the urethra in such a way that stress incontinence becomes a thing of the past.

Following your time in the recovery room, a nurse will remove your catheter and ask you to void in the toilet. She will then scan your bladder with a small ultrasound machine to record the amount of any residual urine. You must be able to empty your bladder before discharge. Gale had no problems in this area and was discharged within a few hours with minimal discomfort. Following her surgery she required only regular doses of tylenol and ibuprophen for the first few days to control the small bit of pressure and fullness she felt in her pubic area.

Post surgery, you will have instructions not to lift over 10 pounds, no heavy housework, no vacuuming or grocery carrying (how awesome is that!) and no sexual intercourse for a period of 4 weeks to allow scar tissue to grow which will secure your new hammock into place. The period of time that you will be off work will depend on the type of job you have. Walking is encouraged as an excellent activity. Showering is allowed the next day.

A follow up appointment will be booked to ensure healing has taken place.

Drawing from Gale’s personal experience she would recommend this surgery to anyone who finds that stress incontinence is hindering their ability to enjoy a normal life. It had been such a long time since the birth of her last child that she forgot what “normal” was like. The results were immediate for her. She is now at the 5 week mark and can laugh with confidence and she’s looking forward to introducing varied exercises into her daily life without fear of incontinence.

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Weight Loss and Fish – Sea a Slimmer You

   Posted by: Lita   in Weight Loss

Langley SureSlim Consultants

Langley SureSlim Consultants

Weight loss and fish can be best friends.  Unfortunately, fish is rarely on the dinner plates at most tables.  What is served most often is found advertised on tv, whatever tastes good or is offered in fast food restaurants.  Many will simply eat sweet or junk foods to feed their emotions, without considering the health implications.

Why do weight loss and fish benefit your overall health? Living overweight and subsisting on the standard North American diet is not a prescription for good health.  When your diet routinely includes processed, packaged foods that contain artificial ingredients, artificial flavorings, sweeteners, heavily processed oils and fats, fried foods, red meats and chemical preservatives it’s only a matter of time before your body will be delivering you to the Doctor’s office.  So many folks are not preparing meals from scratch with wholesome ingredients.  Is it any wonder we are having trouble maintaining a healthy weight?

Consider weight loss and fish in your meal plans.  Fish is a wonderful addition to any healthful diet due to its low saturated fat content which makes it the perfect protein substitute for fatty cuts of beef and pork.

Here are three reasons why weight loss and fish will benefit your overall health:

  1. Protect Your Heart: Potential or existing heart problems are a major reason your doctor wants you to lose weight.  Weight loss and fish contribute to a healthy heart which goes hand in hand in providing you with a much healthier life. Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, mackeral and trout are chock full of omega 3 fatty acids.  These fish should be a staple of everyone’s heart healthy diet as they will contribute to reducing or even eliminating bad cholesterol in your system. Consumption of two fish meals per week can reduce the risk of heart disease, heart attack, sudden death and stroke.  Your chances of having coronary problems later in life can be reduced by almost 40 percent.
  2. The Protein Factor: Complete proteins are essential in any weight loss program. It’s the protein choice that’s likely to make all the difference.  A 6 oz broiled porterhouse steak carries 38 grams worth of protein.  It also delivers 44 grams of fat, 16 of which are saturated.  That’s almost ¾ of the recommended daily allowance for saturated fat.  The same amount of salmon will provide you with 34 grams of protein while delivering only 18 grams of fat with 4 of them being saturated.  Fish is clearly a superior choice for overall weight loss and good health.
  3. Enhancer for Brain and Joints:  Exercise is also part of healthy living. How can you participate in your favorite activities if you have arthritic joints or, worse, Alzheimer’s disease?  A healthy brain and body are required to enjoy many activities. Weight loss and fish to the rescue.  Omega 3 fatty acids, typically found in fish are a healthy, natural way to manage joint pain   Omega 3 fatty acids have been proven to work against crippling disorders like inflamed joints and memory impairment, allowing you better body movement, coordination and quality of life.

Are you ready to lose weight and be healthy? The SureSlim program does not include gimmicks, bars, pills, injections or brand name packaged foods.  Based on your blood work, the Sureslim program is a personalized, doctor formulated weight loss program that consists of only normal grocery store foods, including fish.  If you live in the lower mainland of British Columbia, Canada then contact the Langley clinic for a free information session.  Follow Langley SureSlim on Twitter

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